Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Instructional and Curricular Studies

Number of Pages



The foci of this study were to compare the processes of acquiring concept of word (i.e., performance-based and reflective word knowledge) in English between native English- and Chinese-speaking children and to identify the significant factors influencing the acquisition. A multiple case study design was used for this study. The six participants were enrolled in English-only kindergarten classrooms and were involved in this study for approximately six months. At the beginning and end of this study, the participants were assessed on their Chinese language proficiency and the five tasks for performance-based and reflective word knowledge; The data sources included (a) transcribed parent and teacher interviews as well as informal talks, (b) fieldnotes from 10 classroom observations, and (c) participants' performance on the assessment tasks. The constant comparison method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) was employed to analyze the data. Coding and recoding of collected data were ongoing along with data collection (Miles & Huberman, 1994) until data saturation was reached (Bogdan & Biklen, 1992); The data revealed that the six participants shared similar developmental patterns in their acquisition of performance-based and reflective word knowledge in English. A distinct difference was the participants' difficulty with memorizing the lines of a nursery rhyme. The participants' limited Chinese literacy experience seemingly had little impact on their development of word knowledge in English. Each participant's home and school literacy support were two significant factors that influenced acquisition of word knowledge in English. The parents of the participants made efforts to provide them with literacy support. Some classrooms promoted participants' oral language development or nurtured their love for reading, while others had only a limited number of learning activities that involved them. There were virtually no authentic writing opportunities in any classroom for the participants to explore a connection between spoken and written language and word boundaries; This study called for further research with a larger number of participants in diverse classrooms for a longer period of time. Additionally, it suggested the possibility of examining the role of TV programs in native Chinese-speaking children's early English literacy development.


Acquisitions; Based; Children; Chinese; English; Knowledge; Native; Native Speakers; Performance; Reflective Second Language Acquisition; Speaking; Second Language Acquisition

Controlled Subject

Education, Elementary; Education, bilingual; Early childhood education; Social psychology

File Format


File Size

6010.88 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have the full text removed from Digital Scholarship@UNLV, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.


IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit